Top IDF Officials Sign Petition Against Druze Discrimination

druze israel
Shaykh Muwaffak Tarīf, spiritual leader of the Israeli Druze community, attending a conference of the Zionist Druze Movement in Herzliya. (Flash90)

Dozens of top officials in the IDF have signed a petition expressing support for the Druze community, and protesting against discrimination it faces. Among the many signers was former Chief of Staff Avi Ashkenazi, who joined the protests by Druze officials, who claim that the law will harm their status as equal Israeli citizens.

According to the petition, the signers seek to “show our strong support and empathize with the pain of our Druze brothers and sisters, as well as the pain of the Bedouins, Circassians, and the other groups who serve in the various defense forces, and who have cast their lot with the Jewish nation since the establishment of the state.”

The petition comes after many members of the Druze community protested against passage of the Nationality Law, which they said discriminates against them. The petition does not mention the Nationality Law specifically, and says that it “does not seek to express a political opinion.” Instead, the petition said, it seeks “to remind everyone that these wonderful communities have in the past and continue to stand with us to defend the state, without question or doubt. This land has absorbed the blood of their sons that has spilled, and they have stood with us shoulder to shoulder,” it says.

In recent weeks, members of the Druze community – of which Kara is a member – have complained that the Nationality Law “breaks the traditional alliance between Israel and the Druze.” Among the tenets of the law are that Israel is the “national home” of the Jewish people; that Israel is obligated to preserve Jewish culture and tradition; that the Jewish calendar be used whenever possible to conduct state business; that Jewish law be the “source of inspiration” for legislation by the Knesset and decisions by the courts; that Jews be given the opportunity to immigrate to Israel and receive citizenship; that Hebrew be recognized as the primary official language of the country; and that the state encourage Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel.

Members of the Druze community have filed petitions with the High Court against the law. Among them are MK Akhram Hasson (Kulanu), who said that “we have no problem with Israel as a Jewish state, but what about us? What about those among us who sacrificed their lives for the state, what about the 420 Druze killed in wars and the thousands injured? The Nationality Law turns us into second-class citizens – actually seventh-class – and guarantees that we will be discriminated against in budgets, education, planning, and much more.”